A Gorky Park for our time: A complex, suspenseful, beautifully written novel, set largely in Beijing, in which a Chinese cop and an American DA together uncover the conspiracy of Chinese gangs, government and big business that lies behind a series of high-profile murders. She rips the veil away from modern China its venerable culture, its teeming economy, its omnipotent mafia, its institutionalized cruelty as no other author ever has or ever could.
On a wintry day in Beijing, the U.S. Ambassador's son is found dead entombed in a frozen lake. Almost simultaneously, officials find a boat adrift in the storm-churned waters off Southern California. Nobody is surprised to find the fetid hold crammed with hundreds of undocumented Chinese immigrants the latest cargo in the Chinese Mafia's burgeoning smuggling trade. What does surprise U.S. District Attorney David Starke is his discovery that among the hapless refugees lies the corpse of a "Red Prince," the name given to a child of China's political elite. The Chinese and American governments both suspect that the deaths are linked and, in a first-of-its-kind move, they join forces to solve this cross-cultural crime. Stone heads for Beijing to team up with Liu Hulan, a police detective whose disdain for the Chinese system is tolerated only because she is a spectacular investigator. Their investigation carries them (and us) into virtually every corner of today's China from the glitzy karaoke bars where government leaders and mafia kingpins make their most unsavory deals, to Beijing's labyrinthine hutongs, where working-class Chinese have lived out their lives for centuries.
Here is China as readers have never seen it, a surpassingly strange nation at once admirable and frightening. Here too is an utterly original story more taut and timely than anything else on the fiction shelves today.
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"Inspector Liu, do I need to remind you that China has customs and rituals for dealing with guests?" says a top Chinese official to one his police investigators early in Lisa See's tremendously powerful debut thriller. "Remember that all foreigners are potentially dangerous. Don't be tempted to say what you think. Don't show anger or irritation. Be humble and careful and gracious. Draw them in. Let them think they have a connection to you, that they owe you, that they should never cause you any embarrassment. This is how we have treated outsiders for centuries. This is how you will treat this foreigner as long as he is our guest." The fact that the official is her father and the foreigner in question is her former lover, an assistant U.S. attorney named David Stark, makes things much more complicated for Liu Hulan. Hulan is a former Red Princess, one of the privileged children of Chairman Mao's most trusted aides. When two young men (the son of the American ambassador to China and the son of an immensely powerful Chinese businessman with possible criminal connections) are murdered under similar circumstances, Hulan and Stark are cynically manipulated by their respective governments into a joint investigation that exposes the worst of both countries. The situation also gives See a chance to meld her impressive talent for writing fiction with the solid journalism skills that invigorated her family saga On Gold Mountain.From the Inside Flap:
In Flower Net, Lisa See gives us a China not often seen: An extraordinary nation that is at once admirable and frightening.
Here the veil is ripped away from modern China--its venerable culture, its teeming economy, its institutionalized cruelty--and the inextricable link between China's fortunes and America's is underscored.
In the depths of a Beijing winter, during the waning days of Deng Xiaoping's reign, the U.S. ambassador's son is found dead--his body entombed in a frozen lake. Almost simultaneously, American officials find a ship adrift in the storm-churned waters off Southern California. No one is surprised to find the fetid hold crammed with hundreds of undocumented Chinese immigrants--the latest cargo in the Chinese mafia's burgeoning smuggling trade. What does surprise Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark is his discovery that among the hapless refugees lies the corpse of a Red Prince, a scion of China's political elite.
The Chinese and American governments suspect that the deaths are connected, and in an unprecedented move they join forces to solve this cross-cultural crime. Stark heads for Beijing to team up with police detective Liu Hulan, whose unorthodox methods are tolerated only because of her spectacular investigative abilities. Their investigation carries them into virtually every corner of today's China, and leads them to Los Angeles's thriving Asian community--where their search turns up a bloodthirsty murderer at the apex of China's power structure. Their work together also ignites their passion for each other--a passion forbidden by their respective governments, and one that plays right into the hands of a serial killer.
An accomplished stage actress, Elaina Davis performed in Hamlet, and in Richard II and Troilus & Cressida for the New York Shakespeare Festival. She was a principal character on television's As The World Turns, and has appeared in the film Contact.
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Book Description 1998-08-15., 1998. Book Condition: New. Arrow Books Ltd. New edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 352pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1743729